I used to think that bravery had to be reckless – an act founded on the rush of adrenaline that shoots through your veins when you toss yourself out of an airplane, ding dong ditch a house, break the law, or put yourself in harm’s way. It took me a while to realize that my concept of bravery had been misconstrued by action movies and television series I’d watched as a kid.
Even in high school, I thought I could earn the designation of a “ballsy girl” if I drove across the notoriously haunted Gibbs Bridge or ran down my street in my underwear for a dare. (I don’t recommend it.) In college, I finally learned that being brave doesn’t mean diving into shark infested waters or doing a wheelie a motorcycle – props, though, if you can do either of those things. I decided that being brave means standing up for what you believe in. It means fighting for your wants, needs, hopes, and dreams despite the fear that lurks at the edge of your mind. Whether this means taking care of yourself when you need to be taken care of, or facing your fear to accomplish something you’ve longed to do.
There are numerous types of bravery; the challenge is not in finding bravery in yourself – it’s always been there – the challenge is in acknowledging that you have it. So take some time this week to acknowledge your brave side and put it into action. This could mean overcoming the fear of rejection when reaching out to a long lost friend, or going alone to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Figure out what’s been nagging at you in the back of your mind, and tackle it head on. You’ll accomplish it.
- “It’s scary to talk about what’s going on in your head. Sometimes, we don’t believe it is true, or that it couldn’t possibly be, and somehow you push through that feeling.” –Jessie Close, of Bring Change to Mind, on overcoming manic depression in an interview with Conscious Magazine
- “Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.”
–Maya Angelou, famous poet and civil rights activist, in her poem Still I Rise
- “My father used to tell me to say, ‘Today’s going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad, today’s going to be a great day. I can, and I did.” –Gina Rodriguez, lead actress in the hit CW show “Jane the Virgin,” during her Golden Globe acceptance speech
- “[My mom has] never been a naysayer. When I told her I was leaving my job, she didn’t say, ‘Are you insane?’
“Other women that have influenced me are the refugee women themselves, and the immigrant women – the strength that they have, and the leap of faith they take to flee a country. I’m amazed by that every day.” –Sheryl Rajbhandari, founder of Heartfelt Tidbits and The Welcome Project, about the influential women in her life in an interview with Women of Cincy
- “Create your own rules. Follow that instinct, that passion, that drive.” –Geena Rocero, model, transgender activist, and co-founder of GenderProud, in a podcast produced by Girlboss
- “We live in a society that believes bravery is doing something grand, daring, and sometimes dangerous. Society’s definition of bravery always involves some kind of sacrifice. What if bravery was just sacrificing your fear for a moment? What if bravery was doing something that separates you from your comfort zone and makes you proud of yourself? I believe we are all capable of that kind of bravery.” –Danielle Wilkinson, a senior at Purdue University and writer for Her Campus, an online magazine for college women
- “Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs.
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues,
For the people who had to grow up way too young.
There is work to be done.
There are songs to be sung.
Lord knows there's a war to be won.”
–Halsey, singer and songwriter, in a poem she read at the Women’s March in New York City
- “Instead of asking for and even demanding what we need, we soldier up, play the game, power through. Our flu-ridden or tumor-growing bodies are celebrated for it. And we’re often made sicker in the process.
“That afternoon, I stared out at the lake and dared myself to break the cycle, dared myself to sit still at that cabin. Dared myself to admit I’m sick – and that it was time to take a break.
“In the silence, I wondered what would happen if we redefined brave? What if taking meds and going to the doctor was considered amazing? What if drinking fluids and saying no and resting and doing all the things that don’t land you in a hospital or face down in lake vomit was badass?” –Elisabeth Finch, writer/co-executive producer for “Grey’s Anatomy,” in an article for Cosmopolitan, on working while battling cancer for three years
- “Every human is valid. There is no wrong way to live, no right way to live. It’s just, you’re alive. You’re here. You’re doing it right.” –Amira Smith in an interview with Women of Cincy at Black Lives Matter: Cincinnati’s “Effective Ways to Fight for Women’s Liberation"